The multi-awarded rap icon Gloc-9 is celebrating his 20th year in the Philippine music industry as he marks this milestone with a brand new EP entitled “Rotonda” released under Universal Records. After his one year contract with Star Music and the release of the album “Sukli,” he recently renews ties with his former label, Universal Records as he proudly recalls remarkable working moments with the record label.
The launch of his new EP creates an avenue for me to get back to covering press cons after quite some time. And yes, I finally said yes to Ms. Grace Foronda’s invitation and I’m happy that I am able to squeeze in good times again such as this before work. I miss lining up with some media friends for light snacks and just talk about the traffic and how busy we were these days.
Gloc-9 celebrates two decades
“Siguro isa lang ‘yung magkaroon ka ng sariling kanta pero ang pagiging totoo mo at kapag nakikita ng tao na hindi ka namamlastik lang dahil gusto mo lang sumikat. Ako’y nangarap lang din, nangangarap pa rin na rap artist ngayon. Iyon siguro ‘yung nakita nila na nakakarelate sila. I try my best na hindi ako magmukhang isang taong mahirap lapitan,” answers Gloc-9 on how he achieved longevity in his career. I don’t know if there are really fundamental steps to a successful long-term career in the music industry but all I know is that music is in Gloc-9’s DNA.
One of the most interesting topics during the press con is his relentless work ethics, songwriting and music making process and says “Never ko inihalintulad ang sarili ko sa iba. Sobrang higpit ko sa sarili ko pero sa likod ng lahat na ito ay matinding trabaho po to. I record as early as I can so I can sleep on time. Ang training ko sa trabahong ito ang naging gabay ko sa disiplina. Pag nagrerecord ako halimbawa, nasanay akong ulit-ulitin ang recording hanggang sa maperfect at matapos ang kanta.”
I can imagine how he organizes everything when making an album or creating a song. He gives emphasis on being tough with himself in taking steps towards greater mastery of his instrument. Apart from working with his music are the certainty and sensibility of his materials. He states sheer relevance and real impact.
Someone in the panel shows interest of back stories that lets Gloc-9 recall chronicles of some of his previous hits. He talks about his hesitations in writing and creating the song “Sirena.” He is proud to tell us that he can’t be able to put foul words on it because it might offend people. He also shares stories in connection to how this phenomenal song was born. Sirena is a song he collaborated with Ebe Dancel in the album “MKNM: Mga Kwento Ng Makata.” As of press time, Sirena has over more than 22 Million views. Music video below is courtesy of UniverslRecPh.
He also recalls stories about the process and recording of Parokya Ni Edgar’s song “Bagsakan.” Bagsakan is one of the songs na talagang pinagkakautangan ko ng loob at isang kantang nagpakilala sa akin hindi lang sa market na gusto kong itarget kundi sa mas malawak pang market,” he narrates. It’s a song featuring rap legend Francis M, and Gio Fernandez and Gloc-9 released it in the 2005 album “Halina sa Parokya.”
A revival of Bagsakan was also released by Parokya ni Edgar on their “Inuman Sessions Vol. 2” in 2012 featuring Francis M’s son, Frank Magalona. Music video below courtesy of Chito Miranda.
One of the best stories during the press con is the history of his music making with Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid for the song “Takipsilim.” “Sobrang galing nya dahil in 30 minutes tapos na ang recording ng kanta. She even added back-up parts in my rap verses at nasiraan ako ng ulo,” screams the rap artist. Takipsilim was released as part of the album, “Liham at Lihim.” Music video is courtesy of UniverslRecPh.
New EP Rotonda
Rotonda is Gloc-9’s 9th studio release that is set for a launch at the Eastwood Central Plaza on November 4. It is now available on CD & digital formats. You can also get a free Gloc-9 Rotonda shirt for every CD purchase. First come, first served!
“The EP’s art design is inspired from a stained glass that we usually see in churches,” describes Gloc-9. Rotonda is a 5-track EP featuring mostly collaborations with OPM artists like Mike Luis (with its first single “Ice Tubig”), Agsunta and Joey Ayala among others. It is called an EP or a mini album, a term used to describe a release that is about three to five songs in length, roughly half of what a full-length album would typically be.
Gloc-9 introduces us to his first single entitled Ice Tubig when he sings it for the first time before the press con. “After ko gawin ang Liham at Lihim, naisip ko na ang Rotonda. Paikot-ikot lang. I’ve been in this industry for 20 years na at narealize ko na marami akong bagay na na-encounter, tao o pangyayari na pauulit-ulit lang kaya plinano kong gumawa ng album na ang concept ay rotonda,” tells Gloc-9 as he praises all 5 collaborations in the said EP.
“Mayroon po akong kanta ritong ito rin ang pamagat kasama si Joey Ayala na tungkol sa reincarnation na nagka-glitch. Paano kung nare-incarnate ka pero hindi pa tapos ang previous life mo,” Gloc-9 asks the media.
It’s intriguing how he conceptualizes such philosophical aspect. “Ang lead character dito ay si Congressman Luplup. He is having the same dream every night na nauulit sa mga susunod pang gabi,” continues Gloc-9.
With regards to relevance and social issues, we always look forward to Gloc-9’s quest for lyrical superiority and content. “Norem” is one of those songs with promising themes. “May kantang ang title ay Norem (baligtad ng Meron) featuring Shanti Dope. Ito ay tungkol sa nagaganap na drug war ngayon. Si Klumcee ang gumawa ng music nito. It talks about the country’s present situation narrated through different verses and points of view.”
Unstoppable force in rap music
Even after two decades of his music career, Gloc-9 is still overwhelmed with his achievements. Francis M, Andrew E, Abra, Michael V including Apl de Ap, from all the Filipino rap/hip-hop artists who achieved prominence, he is able to put together a definitive 9 albums and 50 accolades as he continues to dominate the charts.
With all this and more under his belt, he denotes, “Hangga’t meron pa akong maikukwento ay patuloy pa akong magkukwento.” His being a storyteller allows himself to grow and evolve as a musician even though he promises no concerts for now.
Just as the internet modifies facets of our daily lives, Gloc-9’s presence is undeniable. He is one of the most powerful people in the Philippine rap history. You love him or hate him, his love for music remains in his blood. His honesty and relevance increasingly drive conversations about present issues and that’s how people admire him. For a tried-and-tested trustworthy hitmaker, he also continues to command respect amongst his fellow local artists.
“Kung mayroon man po akong makukuha out of this two decades of my career ay ang realization na talagang mahal na mahal ko ang trabahong ito. Minsan ay hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na tumagal ako ng 20 years dito,”ends Gloc-9.
For the coming years, he would still be making the big noise and the big moves. Gloc-9’s fortitude to keep going no matter how hard it gets and educating us thoroughly with his music will make a huge difference in his success as an artist.